This dish is simplicity in its best shape and form. Using minimal ingredients that are tended to with care, an amazingly layered flavor profile is developed and the end result is this wonderfully warming one pot comfort dish. Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian friendly, you’re going to want to bookmark this recipe!
So what really is mujadara? Well it’s pretty much as the title of the post states, it’s rice, lentils and crispy caramelized onions combined together into a, dare I say decadent, one pot meal. Its origins are said to be Iraqi and Lebanese but you can and will find variations of the dish throughout the Middle East and everyone has their own way of making it and their own personal touches they add to it which honestly makes this dish flexible in the sense that you can use whatever variations of the main ingredients you like as long as you stick to the core of the recipe.
So having said all that, let me tell you why you’re absolutely going to fall in love with this dish:
- It requires only 8 ingredients (and I’m betting you already have all in your pantry).
- It is clean-eating, gluten free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan and vegetarian friendly.
- It is incredibly easy to make.
- It pairs wonderfully with almost any protein of your choice.
- The flavor profile is rich and complex despite its simple ingredients.
To make your mujadara, you’re going to need the following handful of ingredients:
- Vegetable broth
- Sliced onions
- Dried lentils (black, brown or green)
- Brown rice
- Salt and pepper
- Extra light olive oil
To top your mujadara, you can use one of all of the following:
- Crispy Fried Onions – these really amplify the flavor of the dish and add a great texture to it.
- Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream (whole milk).
- Parsley – fresh or dried.
- Paprika – plain or smoked.
So to start off you’re going to want to slowly caramelize your onions in a little bit of oil. You don’t want your pan to be too hot or else they will burn and have a strong bitter taste, we really don’t want that. Low and slow is key here. Now, be aware, this step requires a bit of TLC and it can take some time and patience as you’ll need to babysit your onions, but the crispy, sweet fried onions that you end up with will make it all worth it.
Come to think of it, this entire dish is one that really works best if you take your time and treat each step with patience and care. It’s the way our mothers and grandmothers cooked and that’s what always makes their food so comforting and homely!
Once your onions are done, drain and remove them from the pan and set them aside for now. Add the remaining oil to the oil leftover in the pan you just fried your onions in and add your brown rice. Toss to coat each grain in the oil and lightly toast your rice.
Once your rice is lightly toasted, add in your vegetable stock and bring it to a boil before allowing it to simmer until most of the liquid is gone (this takes about 8-10 minutes).
Then add in your dried lentils (that you’ve picked through and washed and drained), along with enough water to cover everything. Stir it all together and cover your pan and let your rice and lentils cook. Check on them after about 10-15 minutes and add more water if needed until both the rice and the lentils are fully cooked.
Once your rice and lentils are fully cooked and the liquid is almost all cooked off, add in your salt and pepper to taste. Finally add back your caramelized onions to the pan and fold them in to evenly disperse them.
Cover and let your mujadara rest for at least 20 minutes before plating, topping and serving.
I love to top mine with a healthy dollop of Greek yogurt, smoked paprika, fresh parsley and some crispy fried onions for a wonderful crunch and texture.
Well guys, that’s it for another recipe. I really hope you enjoy this warm and comforting dish as much as I do.
Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment and/or rating below to let us know what you thought about it, and don’t forget to show off your pics and tag us (@kitrusycleaneat and #kitrusy) so we can celebrate your delectable creations together!
Mujadara - Rice, Lentils and Crispy Onions
Top top: Crispy onions, Greek yogurt, smoked paprika, parsley
- Brown and Caramelize your Onions: In a skillet, add 1.5 tbsp of oil and your chopped onions and cook on low to med-low heat for 20 minutes until browned (but not burned). Allow your onions to sit undisturbed for the first 5 minutes before stirring them. After which stir them around every few minutes to ensure even cooking. Remove your onions and set aside, allowing any oil to drip back into the pan.
- Toast your Rice: Add the remaining 1.5tbsp oil to the skillet you just cooked your onions in and then add in your rice and stir to coat in the oil, let your rice toast for 2-3 minutes, moving them around constantly to keep them from browning or burning.
- Par-boil your Rice: Add your vegetable stock to your rice and allow it to simmer on medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add your Lentils: Once the liquid has cooked off, add in your lentils and 2 cups of water. Let simmer, stirring occasionally until the water has cooked off, adding more as needed until both your rice and lentils are fully cooked.
- Season and add in your Caramelized Onions: Season with your salt and pepper and your caramelized onions back into the skillet. Toss to evenly distribute them throughout the dish.
- Rest, Enjoy and Store: Let your mujadara rest for at least 20 minutes before topping with toppings of your choice (from Greek Yogurt to Crispy Fried Onions) and serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge.
- You can add in additional flavors from garlic to bay leaves to suit your taste.
- Though this dish is vegetarian you can add in cooked meat (such as chicken or even cooked and seasoned ground beef crumbles) if you like.
- Removing the onions after browning and adding them back in at the very end is crucial to help your dish have layers of flavors and not be "one-note". Once you add your onions back in don't over mix them.